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Also Known as
Nimbu ka Phool, Nimbu ka sat
Citric acid is a naturally-occurring compound with a tart, acidulous taste. It is odourless, colourless and crystalline. It is extracted from the juices of fruits and processed into a white powder that is used as a flavouring agent and preservative in foods and beverages containing vitamin C. It easily mixes into liquids, making it a valuable acid. As far as non-food applications go, citric acid is often used to make good cleaners, such as powders and liquids. It is also sometimes used to process photographs.
Citric Acid Crystal Form
Citric acid in crystal form has granules that are larger than salt. If you get the crystal form you need to make sure the crystals are completely dissolved before adding it to any dish. It does not readily dissolve in cool water. To dissolve the crystal citric acid, first place it along with water into a cooking pot, dissolve it in the hot water on the stove, and then pour it into the soaking solution. Citric acid crystals are sometimes referred to as sour salt in cooking.
Citric Acid Powder Form
The powdered form of citric acid is sometimes even finer than iodised salt. It can be added to any dish instantly as there is no prior need to soak. Citric acid powder is useful in sprouting, canning, drying or freezing to preserve Vitamin C content, retard spoilage by bacterial growth, and prevent discolouration.
How to Select
• Choose a good brand.
• Do not forget to check the manufacturing and expiry dates stamped on the label.
• Buy in small packets to retain the flavour.
• Citric acid is not only used for flavouring but also as a firming compound. Tomato products use citric acid to make canned tomatoes firmer in texture as well as to reduce the pH level to assist with the sterilization process when canning.
• It also prevents canned fruits from darkening.
• When used to curdle milk it produces homemade cottage cheese.
• It is used to enhance the fruit flavour in most candy jells and gummys. Sour gummies contain exceptionally high quantities of citric acid, which gives them their sour taste; they are typically also coated with the citric acid crystals.
• Citric acid is used to give lemonade, jams, sweets and confectioneries their characteristic acidulous flavour.
• It also plays an important role in the stabilisation of oils and nutritional fats, and in vegetable, fruit preserves.
• It can be added to flavour certain drinks, especially soft drinks.
How to Store
• Store in a tightly closed container in a cool, dry place.
• Avoid exposure to moisture to retain its properties.
• Some people might be sensitive to citric acid, in which case they should avoid it as it might irritate their stomach.
• Read labels carefully, since citric acid may be used as a preservative in many more foods than you might expect.